Thursday, May 16, 2013

Guest Post

I'd like to introduce you all to my blogger friend (I love that I can say that) Bailey from Becoming Bailey. She's a college girl trying to figure herself out in the world before graduating in December (like moi.) So here she is, Bailey!

Hey everyone! Shannon has asked me to share some travel tips with you lovely readers, specifically in the form of road trips.

You see, I consider myself a semi-professional road tripper, as a good majority of my childhood was spent crammed in the backseat of the family minivan on the way to the beach. One year, my family even traveled from our home in Kentucky to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then to New York City, and on to Washington D.C. before finally heading home. My most recent road trip was to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas with my mother and grandmother over Spring Break.

Throughout the years, I've learned some very valuable lessons. Learn from my mistakes so your trip won't be a disaster.

1. Take your car to the shop before you leave. You do not want to be on the interstate in a rural area with an engine failure. Also, clean your car before you leave, because it will get messy on your trip.

2. Buy a road atlas. Even if you have a GPS or a TripTik from AAA, make sure to have a paper atlas just in case. (You will not believe the number of times Apple Maps got us lost in rural Arkansas!)

3. Pack snacks. Once you're finally on the road, you don't want to stop for a candy bar. Keep them within easy reach of the driver's seat, so you're not rummaging through bags while behind the wheel.

4. Make a "road trip" playlist for when you lose radio signal in the boondocks. It will happen and you do not want to be fiddling with the radio when your hands should be on the steering wheel.

5. Don't drive more than 11 hours in a day. Professional truckers don't drive more than 11 hours in a day, so neither should you. And on this note, it's safer to travel with friends or family-- you can split up the driving. Plus, you'll make some great memories! (That being said, choose your friends wisely. You will be stuck with this person for hundreds of miles.)

6. Relax. This is a fact: it will take longer to get to your destination than planned. Instead of speeding to your destination, take your time and enjoy the sights. Who knows? You may even run into a cool little tourist trap.

One such tourist trap: Margaret's Grocery in Vicksburg, MS.

7. Pick a good co-pilot or as I prefer to call them, navigators. The person in the front passenger seat should know how to read a map, give directions, and assist the driver in switching lanes during heavy traffic. If the person up front does not fit these qualifications, pull over and move them to the back. It sounds mean, but your navigator is the second-in-command of your vehicle. Just like a co-pilot needs to know how to fly the plane, the navigator needs to know how to drive the vehicle and give directions.

8. Bring enough money! Some places only accept cash. Trust me, you'd rather have too much than not enough. Of course, be careful with your money as you do not want to flaunt it all and end up a robbery victim.

9. Take a break. Get out of the car to stretch your legs and eat dinner. Sometimes, it's the only thing that will keep you sane.

10. Always, always, go to the bathroom when you are at a rest stop. Don't have to go? Then follow my advice that I always gave my campers before a long hike in the woods: Go try. You do not want to be hittin' the woods scraggly bush on the side of the interstate.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful summer full of amazing memories. Happy road tripping, friends!